Asili was established as a means to work with East African artisans and their respective materials. We guide collaborations between contemporary designers and East African artisans. Each item is handmade, and every Asili purchase directly supports the growth and development of artisans and their trade.
We are based in New Zealand and Asili was born after our first trip to Uganda and Kenya in 2017. Our name borrows from the Swahili word foressence, genesis, the source of something. It stands for the truth or fundamental nature of a person or object.
Asili was established as a way to bring ideas together; heritage & present-day, craft & industry:
— Each partnership considers the true character of a natural material within a modern design framework.
— Asili objects are used in daily life, leave a lasting impression, and harmonise with other items in the home.
— All products produced by Asili are made by artisan groups that are Fair Trade Certified across Uganda and Kenya.
Every ASILI collaboration:
— Begins with responsible material sourcing, as this forms a key chapter in a product's story. By operating transparently, ASILI offers the design community an assurance of integrity.
— Supports artisans in their trade and through this support, contributes to the preservation of culturally significant crafts. Our aim is to attract a new global market, reviving the traditions and materials of East Africa.
— Educates both designer and customer about the potential of a material that they have never previously used before.
— Results in the creation of a modern artifact. We filter traditional techniques and natural materials through a contemporary lens, to create something new and timeless.